The lighting of a fire*

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Kindergarten registration for our school district came and went last month, and we stayed home.

Facebook was full of friends updating which school their kids were registered at, and on each status I wrote how (genuinely!) excited I was for them, and then avoided the question “Where is Ella going? Maybe they will be in the same class!”

All day long I bit my fingernails, second guessing our choice, telling myself “Well, I could always register her and then pull out later…” I called Tom, who lovingly told me to tone down the neurosis a bit and stop over thinking it. Finally five o’clock rolled around, registration closed and I took a deep breath.

We’re doing it. We’re really homeschooling next year.

In true over-thinking-it-Ivory style though, now I am overwhelmed by the choices when it comes to homeschooling. Are we interest-led? Waldorf inspired? Unit driven? Would a curriculum in a box work for us? UnschoolingCharlotte Mason sounds good.. but so does Thomas Jefferson. Maybe we’ll just be eclectic, picking and choosing as we go… but I don’t know what to draw from yet. And…. but…. * hyperventilating and walking away*

Here is what I know:

Kids need to get dirty.

Going on a worm hunt
(Ella with her pet worm “Pinkie”. He now lives in the compost.)

They need to dance.

Bunny dance Bunny dance Bunny dance

They need to make a mess with art.


They need community.

Playgroup is exhausting. And amazing. And exhausting.

They need to be listened to.

baby animals book

They need to be challenged.

Rainbow pattern

They need each other.


Don’t get me wrong: there will be time for academics, and the good news is that based on the typical course of study Ella is well ahead of where she needs to be, so I don’t think we are going to break her this year. But I need to keep reminding myself: Children need much less than we realize, and much more.

*From a quote attributed to W.B. Yeats’: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

9 Responses to The lighting of a fire*

  1. Lacey says:

    Such a great post Ivory. Glad to see you’re so happy with your decision :)

  2. Lise says:

    After 20 years, our family’s homeschooling journey ended this year when my youngest child decided to go to public high school. We ended up on the unschooling end of the continuum as we discovered, through trial and error, that it was what worked best for us. (And to head off the nay-sayers. . . Yes, they’re socialized. Yes, they’ve excelled in college. Yes, I’m still sane and really enjoyed all the time with my kids.) Don’t feel you have to know right now exactly what homeschooling is going to look like. You can dabble in various methods and see what is the best fit for your children and for you. And congratulations!

  3. I have a friend that homeschools two girls, and she went through several curriculums before she found one that really worked for them. And the girls didn’t lose a single bit of ground with all of the curriculum changing. So don’t worry- just try things until you find something you like! I would homeschool Gabi, but I get stressed enough over homework that I just know I don’t have it in me to be a teacher. So I’m also a little bit jealous of you, lol.

  4. Lilly says:

    I am delurking to give you this link maybe it helps you a bit on your home school journey :)

  5. Elise Raimi says:

    I am so excited to follow you on this path – we kick about the idea of homeschooling a bit and to “watch” someone start at the beginning and make their way is going to be awesome, go you!

  6. FireMom says:

    I’m jealous, by the way. Don’t second guess yourself. You’ll all be wonderful.

  7. Marissa says:

    I so enjoyed this post! I am newly discovering your blog and LOVE it!

  8. Jess says:

    You’ve made a great choice! You listened to your instincts!

    You know when I decided? The week before school started. I just COULD NOT in good conscience take her to the school she was suppossed to go to in our district. Everything in me said no. But everything in me also said “I don’t want to homeschool!” We’re in our second year and guess what, it was the right choice. And while I won’t lie, it’s HARD work, it’s worth it. It’s the best and most meaningful work I’ve ever done. You can do it. You won’t break them. I promise. :)

  9. Natalee says:

    Hi! I am new to your blog, but thanks so much for writing this post. We are experiencing a similar situation with our oldest 2 who are currently enrolled in kindergarten and realizing how much they are missing out on. We will be homeschooling next year for certain!

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